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1
I believe JK Rowling trademarked all the major names.

Publishers can license the right to the world in a book as well as the book itself, but I think that has to be licensed explicitly. In other words, I'm not sure a publisher gets the rights to any subsequent development of the character, world, etc. just by licensing rights to the one book. If they did, wouldn't Amazon just say to people who submitted a sequel of a previously accepted book to Scout, "Gee, thanks, but we already own the rights to this material."

Publishers (or sometimes studios, if there's been a movie adaptation) might want to license the rights to any subsequent development, but they'd have to pay for that, would they not? Lucas got a bundle when Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, in part because they weren't buying a specific movie or even a certain number of movies in the future. They were buying the whole creation and any possible derivatives of it.

Anyone know for sure?
Authors can and often do give up additional rights as part of publishing contracts, but the Scout contract doesn't require an author to avoid writing additional books in a series or using earlier characters.

TV and movie deals often broadly restrict future work in a series by an author to prevent creative conflicts between screenwriters and the author. But these contracts only restrict the parties to the agreement, not everyone else. The only way publishers and TV and movie producers can prevent third parties from using similar story ideas or fictional characters in new creative works in the US is through copyrights and trademarks. I think the UK has broader protections for artistic works to  protect authors.

2
If they reject your book 2 (or if you don't even submit it to Scout), can you still self-publish it, even though it's the same characters/world?
I'm sure you can self-pub book 2, particularly in the US. Lots of authors have published book 2 of a KP book one successfully.

The copyright is only for the words in the first book, not for the ideas, characters, places, plots. Moral rights to the integrity of books are only weakly enforced in the US, so you can name your character Harry Potter and send him on magical adventures as long as you don't plagiarize parts of Rowling's books or infringe on trademarks (I haven't checked to be sure Harry's name hasn't been trademarked, which would be a good idea before using it). Things might be different in the UK where moral rights are stronger.

3
I've gone ahead and sent the 'Tell my Scouts' email with the pre-order link for Feathered, even though Scout said they only link to fully-published books. Well, other authors have done it, so why can't I?

It worked. I just got the notification email from Scout. Good luck with your launch.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 09, 2017, 05:46:28 PM »
That's good to hear. While in long term edit mode for my upcoming one, I was hesitant to delay it further by trying kindle scout. But, am hearing better things about the experience recently, so may give it a go in January.

Please note that Scout is only promising editorial letters for some books launched in November and December. Of course, they could continue the program.

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: Launching a new author (Semi Successfully)
« on: December 09, 2017, 03:38:20 PM »
It sounds like you're doing great. Many series don't take off until at least three books are out. I'd promote the first book at the time of each new release in the series and then try to minimize ads otherwise.

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 09, 2017, 10:09:20 AM »
The more I hear about everybody waiting until January, the more inclined I am to jump in and publish right away!

Forged by Fire is ready to go, but I want to add the first chapter to the followup book, Infernal Justice, to the end of the first book. I'm just waiting for the final proofread on the second book to come back, and then I plan to launch book one and set a preorder for book two. Also, for some reason, Scout thinks my first book is still in review, so I don't have the ability to notify those who nominated me about publishing yet. When book one does come out, it will be $.99.

Am I crazy to launch in the Christmas season? Sure, but I also think we overplay the marketing angle. I worked my butt off to make the book as good as I could, and in the end, that's the best promotion tool. Plus, I've lined up ads for the release of book two in mid-January at $2.99. That's when I hope to earn a few bucks back on this crazy effort.

Best of luck to everybody, however, they go forward.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Positive KU experience?
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:28:43 AM »
Nothing gets folks on Kboards riled up faster than those two little letters, KU.

Here's my perspective. For certain genres, like urban fantasy, KU is a godsend that connects authors with readers like no other platform. About two-thirds of my income is from KU, and it's more consistent than my sales which tend to fluctuate for no reason I can discern. I particularly like the fact that I don't need to advertise constantly, maintain a presence on Facebook or Twitter, do newsletter swaps, manage street teams, ARCs, blogs, bots, or engage in other forms of marketing. Instead, I spend most of my author time actually writing books instead of administering some complicated program designed to connect with readers.

For lots of other authors, however, KU is a big disappointment. I don't know why, but I think that its important to look at the genre of the books you intend to put into KU. I think it works best for certain clearly defined, genre-appropriate books, and you can tell which genres by looking at bestseller lists. If most of the bestsellers in a given category are in KU, then you know KU readers are seeking more of those kinds of books.

As for the problems people cite, like exclusivity, page flip, putting all your eggs in one opaque basket, and low per page payment rates, I have no doubt those are legitimate concerns, but for me, they are vastly outweighed by the benefits of being able to connect with a huge number of readers available nowhere else.

I can publish a book, run a quick series of initial ads to get it noticed, and maybe spend a few bucks a day on AMS sponsored products. Then I turn to writing the next book. So far, knock on wood, that approach has worked great. Who knows how long it will continue, but for now, KU is terrific.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: To Pen Name Or Not To Pen Name - That is the question!
« on: December 07, 2017, 01:27:28 PM »
I think a pen name may not really be necessary in this case. If your space opera will have a lot of action and suspense you could well wind up with crossover.

I think pen names are really only needed when there are big differences in heat level between genres, or large differences in your <em>essential style.</em>

Essential style is what your readers really read you for. It isn't present past tense, first person or third person POV, it's what really grips them. For me, it's emotions. The thing people say about my work is how much it makes them <em>feel.</em> (My sense of humor also gets comments, but feelings are first.)

If your space opera is going to have what makes your books stand out--maybe it is the heart pounding suspense--I would keep them under the same name. You <em>will</em> get cross over readers.
+1

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 07, 2017, 12:33:37 PM »
Well, Forged by Fire got shot down. The same email telling me that fact included a page or two of specific comments, which will be very helpful to me but probably won't mean much to someone who hasn't read the book.

There were several general themes that I can share, however, that might prove useful to others. The main one was that the editor mentioned specific places where the characters reacted in a way that didn't seem realistic. In addition, the editor thought I went too far out of my way to avoid word repetition, particularly with regard to names. He also didn't like the inconsistent use of profanity in the story. In addition, there were places where I should've shown more and told less. Finally, he liked the cover, but he thought the main character looked too young. In the book he is described as mid-twenties, but looks younger.

My first reaction in reading the letter was, that's all? It'll probably take me a few hours to address these issues. Upon reflection, though, I have to assume that these were simply examples of more widespread problems, although the email doesn't say that. Rather than being a developmental edit, the comments seem to be more along the lines of, here's what really jumped out at me while I was reading. I hope it helps.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my Scout campaign, and the next time I have a first in series book, I will seriously consider campaigning again. It was a lot of fun to interact on this thread, and their editorial comments will be very helpful to me in finalizing the book for self-publishing. Plus, I had the chance to show my cover and blurb to over seven thousand people.
It's all for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Forged by Fire will be better because of Scout.

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 06, 2017, 05:13:42 PM »
I just got (very thorough feedback). A lot of it is really specific to that particular book, so there's not too much point in reproducing it here, but I do have one interesting takeaway to share.

That's terrific news. It's worth submitting for that kind of independent feedback alone.

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 06, 2017, 08:00:17 AM »
As many of you probably already know, Haunted by the Devil was not selected. For those of you interested in the process, this is another example that would suggest they have little to no effect. 701 hours (98% of the time) in Hot and Trending and 10,414 views would surely have gotten the book selected if that were what mattered.

That said, I'm glad Scout isn't just a popularity contest. The whole program has more credibility if it isn't, and the whole thing would fall victim to click farms if it was. I know what we're doing is recruiting more people for the Amazon ecosystem, but I'm OK with that. That helps everyone get more exposure for their new releases.

Congratulations on a terrific campaign. I think you hit the nail on the head with the real purpose for Scout, helping everyone get more exposure for their new releases. I'm looking forward to reading your book. When do you plan to self-publish? I've been wondering about the timing of that because I expect to be in your shoes soon.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 05, 2017, 10:13:31 AM »
So here I am at day 11 in the waiting room.

I'm now the living embodiment of the old expression about the grass being greener on the other side. I was upset that my first try got rejected so fast. Now I'm fidgety because I'm still waiting, as are the other two people who ended the same day. (It looks as if there are several others waiting as well.)

We all know how long you wait means absolutely nothing. People have gotten accepted or rejected after waits of various lengths.

I did have one positive thought: maybe the waits have been longer recently because of the editors writing feedback. If the process is slower because of that, it's well worth it.

What often happens is that a whole bunch of people hear on the same day, so I wouldn't be surprised if a whole lot of our heads rolled at once.

The waiting room is crowded. I imagine it's going to be like the French Revolution. Once they start lopping heads off, they won't be able to stop themselves. I hear it only hurts for an instant! At least that's what I tell myself.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: Fiverr Beta Reader Service
« on: December 04, 2017, 08:48:55 AM »
How much does Lisa charge for a beta read?

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 02, 2017, 10:28:43 AM »
For those who like statistics, here are mine for the just-completed Forged in Fire campaign. I had 492 hours in hot and trending and 7,124 page views. I think that's about average, based on my vague recollection of others' stats. And 89% of my links came from Scout versus outside sources.

Julianne tried to explain what that meant once, but I have to admit it didn't stick. Self-pub is way too complicated for its own good. The bottom line, though, is that the folks on this thread are incredibly helpful and forthcoming in dealing with all the complexity. It makes participating fun whether the book gets picked or not. So I'll hang around whether my book is picked for Scout or not. Given how few stories get selected, I've begun working on my own launch campaign already.

As for promotion, I used Author Shout, Readper, and Lincoln Cole's service, and I'd recommend them all to everyone else. Scout ads are remarkably cheap compared to other ad options for self-pub.

With regard to the dreaded mid-December launch, my solution is to have a soft launch for book 1, Forged in Fire, and do a preorder for book 2, Infernal Justice at the same time. Book 2 will launch some time in early January. I'll notify my mailing list about publishing book 1 and run a few AMS ads, and that's it. Then I'll line up promos for a free book 1, to be effective at the time book 2 becomes available for full price. That approach has worked well for me in the past.

Lastly, I've got to find the waiting room. I hear its crowded and all the food is already gone. Oh well.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 01, 2017, 07:05:39 AM »
Today is the last day for Forged by Fire's campaign, and it's been a lot of fun sharing the experience with all of you. I've learned a lot about writing and marketing, so thanks for that, too. It turns out that writing stories is a team sport. Who knew?

When the campaign is officially over, I'll publish my stats in case that helps anyone else, and I'll keep nominating the folks on Kboards and following this thread. Best of luck to everybody else with a campaign underway and those still under review, like Bill and Sebourn.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 28, 2017, 09:02:42 AM »
I never got any, which was a huge blow to my confidence. More gutted about that than not getting chosen.


Rachel Wollaston | YA/Fantasy author

Rachel, this is a tough racket, there's no getting around it. I write for the fun of it, and some books sell and some don't. I can't imagine doing this as a full-time job, with no certainty from one project to the next that the market for my books won't evaporate for one of a hundred possible reasons. I hope you'll keep going and publish Feathered soon.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 27, 2017, 01:26:56 PM »
Thanks to the members of this forum who take the time to nominate. 

I had a day in Hot and Trending at the beginning of the campaign, and Lincoln Cole's awesome promo gave me a mid-campaign spike for nearly a week. 

I've emerged from another slump here at the end, and I know part of it is this board.

Sebourn, I will echo your thanks to the group for their support. It looks like you and I are the only two left from the group for a while. I've nominated Folklore as well as my own book. Best of luck to you.

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 24, 2017, 06:53:34 PM »
The second campaign is easier than the first in that the waiting doesn't bother me as much, and I'm fully prepared for rejection. It'll be a nice surprise if I get accepted, but another rejection won't bother me.

I got a nice email from KS explaining what to expect. I don't think they were doing that a year ago.

Congratulations, Bill, on a terrific campaign. However it turns out, I think you have a winner on your hands.

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 20, 2017, 08:47:36 AM »
Wow, all three books on top of Steve's list are urban fantasies, and they all look great. Click, click, click. Good luck to all.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 17, 2017, 04:59:20 PM »
Thanks everyone for your kind words!

Yes, I have not done any paid promos yet.  Only a few tweets, Facebook, Instagram and Goodreads posts.  Instagram and Goodreads have worked best for me. But now am about to experiment with Amazon ads to see how that goes when I get back from traveling at the end of the month.  Like Bill said, a campaign is a useful tool to launch a selfpub.

Changing my cover helped a great deal; that's when my rank rose from ~900 to ~600 overnight.  One review says: "the only thing good about this book is the cover".

Yes the one star reviews   :). They are part of the game, I guess. One direct email I got "Your book was the worst book I've ever read but I just couldn't stop turning the pages."  That's hilarious.  ;)

Hopefully will launch a campaign early next month so will be back stressing about Hot and Trending along with you all!

Kim, I love your attitude about this whole crazy publishing business. My most successful series by far has mediocre reviews, but most people still buy it like crazy or download on KU. That tells me something about the books works, but danged if I know what. I did try to read some of the early reviews to figure out why readers like the series, without success. Now, I don't even glance at the reviews. I just keep writing the best books I can. Best of continued luck in a fabulous launch.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 15, 2017, 02:18:44 PM »
Woot! My page views went from zero to 400 for yesterday without me lifting a finger. Like Lincoln says, it'll all sort itself out in days or weeks. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the roller coaster.

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 15, 2017, 08:59:11 AM »
Dang it! When I checked my KS stats today, I was all hot and excited to be able to report what I thought was an impossibility--zero page reads but I was hot and trending for 24 hours. But Bill and Seborn beat me to the punch.

Edited to add--it looks like quite a few people beat me to the punch.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:28:48 AM »
This is the first time I haven't had enough nominations too cover everyone on Steve's list. I nominated Damaged Beyond all Recognition, Cold Solar, and Murder on Perry's Island. Good luck to everyone.

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:20:46 AM »
Thanks for the answers.  Strangely, I had 9 hrs in the hot/trending, then fell off.  I checked today and saw I had 25 hrs in h/t.  So, I guess you CAN make it back into it.

Stressful...I feel like if I am not hot/trending the whole time that it won't happen.
I have to admit some confusion about hot and trending too. My campaign has gone on for 12 days. In the first week, I averaged about 500 pages a day read, with no hot and trending. Yesterday, I had only 200 Page reads, but 24 hours of hot and trending.

In other words, it does seem to be somewhat arbitrary. My main takeaway is not to take the public campaign too seriously. It sounds like the Amazon gods do what they want, irrespective of the stats, so why worry?

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: November 09, 2017, 07:19:58 AM »
OMG! It happened! I got a giant letter full of editorial feedback to devour on my rejected Scout book and I am over the moon!! To backtrack, my super successful (in terms of stats) campaign ended on 11/04, and by 11/06 I got a quick harsh deadpan NO. I was devastated to be rejected so quickly - instead of a no, it felt more like a $#@! no to me.


That's terrific. I'm sure your book will come out much better by virtue of starting a Scout campaign.

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